Curtis Hubbard posted a column on’s “The Spot” describing a right-wing commentator’s callous attempt at humor, and the left’s reaction to it ( First of all, I don’t think that any public call to violence, even if the speaker thinks it’s a joke, is a good idea, especially when it’s one more match being thrown into a highly combustible situation. Secondly, this particular stupid comment isn’t just any stupid comment, but rather one more expression of a belligerent, bigoted movement that contributes only a divisive obstruction to human welfare to the mix.

But, having said that, I don’t think that Rosen’s statement is really “the issue” (kind of like the fictional assassination attempt against the president isn’t “the event”). The issue is the devolution of public discourse into a battle of stupid and callous statements, and the outrage expressed in reaction to them. Neither of those contributions gets us any closer to addressing the challenges of life on Earth. I would rather see the belligerent, divisive obstruction to human welfare remain the sole focus of progressive’s outrage, rather than the particular offensiveness of particular expressions of it. By getting drawn down into a debate over whether this particular remark was beyond the pale or not, we obscure the fact that it is just one example of a consistent, movement-wide attitude, one which is wholly destructive to our collective welfare.

Just as the far-right latches onto simple, consistent messages, and hammers them home constantly, progressives must do the same, only with the difference of latching onto messages that represent reason and goodwill rather than irrationality and belligerence. Our message should not be that Rosen’s comment was inexcusably insensitive, but rather that Rosen’s comment was one more typical expression of a hateful ideology, one which divides our country into the few who belong to the “in-group” and the many who don’t. And we have to make damn sure that everyone who is not in that small intersection of in-groups knows that they are the ones being targeted. We need to isolate those who are isolating themselves, and leave them to the status they covet: Separated from the diversity that the rest of us not only tolerate, but treasure.

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